Are you confused about what to feed your pet? How do you know if your furry friend is getting the right amount of nutrition in their diet? We asked chief veterinarian at the Animal Welfare League NSW, Dr Simone Maher, for advice.
Those puppy-dog eyes may be hard to resist, but according to Dr Maher we need to start flexing our control muscles and stop overfeeding our pets with treats and food scraps. âThe numbers of overweight and obese pets we see are in line with increasing trends in human healthâ, explains Dr Maher. âItâs amazing just how the kilojoules from those scraps and treats add up.âÂ Just like humans, every animalâs metabolic rate is different and will vary with breed, age and activity. Ask your vet for tips on how much your pet should be eating.
Is your cat or dog looking a little tubby? Dr Maher says the best way for them to shift the weight is just like us: fewer kilojoules and more exercise. âFinding other ways to bond with your pet such as play sessions, grooming or walks can be really helpful,â she suggests.
Are you training your puppy and worried youâre overfeeding it with treats? Dr Maher suggests using small portions of a high-quality treat, teamed with intermittent rewards and verbal praise. âA tiny crumb your pet can swallow in one go is adequate; if they have to concentrate on chewing and swallowing they lose focus on the task at hand,â Dr Maher explains.
Providing a balanced diet for our pets can be tricky, so itâs important to read the labels when choosing food. Look for products that use the word âcompleteâ on the label. Products that are âintended for occasional or supplemental feedingâ should be used as treats. Dr Maher suggests choosing a high-quality product from a trusted company. âA reputable company, such as Purina, has done all the hard work of selecting natural ingredients to meet all of your petâs nutritional requirements,â she says.
The biggest no-noâs for cats and dogs are chocolate and onions. Also, watch out for macadamia nuts and grapes â they are toxic for dogs!